Dear Friends, fellow humans, let our deep pain at the horrible state of our country be expressed as Love — not the romantic, feely-feely love of hallmark cards, but the Agressive, Active Love that can overcome this civil war. As our cities erupt with fire and anger, let our Love envelope those hurting and those hurt. Can we look around and see a Way to help those who have been oppressed for 400 years? Sometimes it’s our very helplessness that can move us to cry out that this racism must end. I said it, racism, and it’s built in to our culture, wired into our brains, and many white people deny it because it is tribal.
I am a “woke white woman”. What does that mean? That means I realized, with horror, that I am a bigot. The revelation came to me over Ferguson, the sight of Michael Brown lying in the street, dead, while the white police officers figured out their story to justify his murder. Prior to that I used the usual racist-white-person excuse that I had personally always strived to treat people the same–and I did. As a nurse, I looked at the illness, the wound, the problem and used the same tactics to heal no matter a person’s color That much is true.
What I didn’t realize is that I would never be treated the way a black person is. I understood that I had “gotten away with” stuff that black people would be jailed or killed for. I saw the kids at the “good” school where I worked treated in two different ways with black kids always suspected and black parents always undermined. I was sick with grief and guilt.
No amount of whitesplaining made it look any better. I saw that my parents, my family members were of the bigoted mindset and that they seriously did Not See it–in fact, denied it vigorously. I saw white people have biracial grandchildren that they loved and helped raise, so they claimed that proved they were not racist….but they still hated the father and the father’s family because their bigotry is so ingrained. I’m no better than them, though, but I decided at that moment to be aware of my bias, my stupid feeling that this is America so everyone has the same chance–Ha! Once you see something, you can’t un-see it. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice Everywhere.”
The folks rioting and burning have had the knee of the oppressor on their necks for centuries. I can’t say what I would do if I were in their shoes. I’ll just not judge but Look, Look for a way to Agressively, Actively Love them and not make it in any way about myself. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “A riot is the language of the unheard.”
Already I have prayed and prayed hard, sometimes with just tears because I don’t know what to say. I left my church as I watched them coalesce around a mentally ill man who stoked their bigotry and homophobia, calling him a messiah even though he couldn’t tell you a single Bible story. Since the pandemic I’ve been able to “attend” a lot of different church services and there are plenty of them who do not preach this and I’m relieved, even invigorated by their sermons. In particular, I’ve virtually visited a lot of black churches; it’s a different world and one that has informed me about their plight. The scales continue to drop from my eyes and I see some ways I can help them and I will.
The truth about our country is this: the confederacy won that war. Though Lee surrendered, they went to Plan B and murdered the president and cabinet members running the country, replacing Lincoln with a Southerner. We don’t teach that in our history books, the ones that are chosen in Texas; they don’t teach about the laws that were passed to keep these people from being recognized as People. As People! My mother truly believed that black people had different skeletons and blood than white people…
We know Better. We can Be Better.
I was out the other day to the grocery store and was astounded to see 95% of the people not wearing masks. Taking care of each other has been labeled a Liberal thing, a Democrat thing, a Weak thing. Taking care of each other has become a Weak Thing? Is that what you believe? Please.
It’s Pentecost Sunday in the christian church, marking the story of the Holy Spirit coming in like a big wind, As the disciples preached, everyone in the audience heard the message in his own language because Love is for All of us. It Woke them Up. May that same Spirit of Love Wake Us Up today.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that…
Martin Luther King…